An evening in a traditional Irish pub...Will this be our standard Saturday night dining experience?...Tomorrow, Part 2*...Irish history...Connemara Heritage and History Centre...


On the way to the pub, we stopped for a photo of this which I believe is some type of pheasant.
"Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland"St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated grandly in Ireland. People eat traditional Irish food which includes beer, pink bacon, and savory chicken.

*Part 2...Irish history...Connemara Heritage and History Centre...will continue in tomorrow's post.  

Today, in order to break up the seriousness of Irish history, we are excited to share our first night in a traditional Irish pub with excellent meals options. The atmosphere is delightful, the staff friendly and helpful and the ambiance of patrons stopping in for an ale and a chat depicts the image I had in mind.
 
The patio at Tigh Mheaic.  We commented that we doubt diners would sit outdoors in such cool weather even when the weather warms up by a few degrees during the slightly warmer summer months. 
The last time we were in a traditional Irish pub was while on a cruise from Harwich, England to Boston, Massachusetts (USA) which had a few ports of call in Ireland along the way.

At that time in September 2014, we'd met several couples onboard and eight of us took a van from the ship to the town to check out a few pubs and shops.  For photos on this port of call visit, please click here.  It was on that cruise that we visited the Blarney Castle.  

Tom had previously kissed the "Blarney Stone" during his two previous visits to Ireland before we met, once with a girlfriend at the time and the second time with his dear mom, Mary Lyman who passed away in 2008, months from her 99th birthday.  When we were there in 2014 we didn't kiss the stone when we'd read that mischief-makers peed on it after dark.  
Note the vines growing on the outside of their building.  Quite impressive.
Tom took his all of his accrued vacation time, 28 days, to take his mother to the Vatican to see the Pope, tour Italy to end up touring Ireland based on their strong Irish history.  It was this story that made me fall in love with him.  

I figured any son who'd use his entire year's vacation to take his mother (just prior to her going totally blind) to fulfill her dreams was definitely my kind of man.  He humbly told me this story on our first date in June 1991, when I'd invited him to my home for dinner. 

He hated the food I'd made but he didn't complain at the time: grilled Cajun swordfish, grilled baby asparagus, and couscous...none of which he eats. He didn't care for the Cabernet Sauvignon I served since he's not a wine drinker.  He did enjoy the Creme Brulee I'd made for dessert.

Hummm...we've seen this sign at locations throughout the world.
But, I was entrenched in the story of taking his mother to see the Pope and visit Ireland.  I realize I've told this story in a previous post.  However, after 2,479 posts as of today, it's easy for me to tell a story I've told in the past.  

When I do retell a story in a post, I'm always aware its a repeated story but I also realize we always have a flow of new readers from all over the world that may not have seen the previous story.

Last night's drinks and dinner at Fáilte go Tigh Mheaic, which the locals shorten to Tigh Mheaic.  The pronunciation of this name is tricky. Next time, we'll ask for clarification.  The Irish language is exceedingly difficult for us foreigners to grasp including pronunciation and meanings.
The design and decor of the bar depict exactly what one would envision for a small town pub in Ireland.
As I am writing today's post with Irish news on the TV in the background, a news story that unfolded was how the audience for the traditional Irish pub is going by the wayside.  These pubs used to be packed with heavy drinkers and loads of merriment and conversation, on occasion rowdy behavior.

The young generation of today has little interest in hanging out in a bar.  Instead, they spend time in more sophisticated nightclubs packed with people their own age.  

Us, old timers, easily recall years of great times we had hanging out in a bar, meeting people and at times, developing romantic relationships, as was the case with Tom and I...we met in a bar in Bloomington, Minnesota, 28 years ago.
Eventually, we moved into the dining room to dine.
For the locals, there may still be a few diehards, who stop at a pub after work or in the evening but they are definitely not as prevalent as they were in the past.
My vision of dozens of people clamoring at the bar, engaged in lively chatter, may not be a reality after all, especially in this low population area.

The huge entire area of Connemara only has a total population of 32,000.  Carna, where the bar/restaurant has a population of only.  From this site: "There are currently 178 people living in Carna Village but there are 1,786 people living in the townlands around Carna and the Iorras Aithneach area. The population dramatically dropped from the previous average of 8000 before the Great Famine."

With this low population and the risk of causing injury or death on the narrow winding roads to oneself and to others, excessive drinking makes no sense at all in this area or any area for that matter.  Surely, this fact, over the years has added to the lack of interest by the locals and tourists in "barhopping" or in "hanging out" at one location.
This taxidermy which we're not fond of in general reminded us of the antelope heads at Jabula Lodge, our favorite restaurant in Marloth Park.
Speaking of drinking, last night for the first time in 3½ months I had two glasses of an excellent Malbec.  Of course, after not drinking for so long, I felt a little tipsy but I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious wine.

Nonetheless, we had a lovely evening. After a while, we left the bar to enter the adjacent dining room to order our dinner. The food was fresh and filled with local flavor.  We both had grilled scallops, Tom's with salad, chips (fries) and mine with veg and salad.  Tom gave me his salad as he often does.

The bill was much higher than we're used to after living in South Africa for 15 months.  Our bill before the tip was Euro 89.03, US 99.73.  Had I not ordered the entire bottle of wine, the bill would have been about Euro 78, US 87.41, by ordering just the two glasses separately.  I won't do this again.  Plus, Tom left a cash tip of Euro 15, US $16.81, making our total for the evening Euro 104.50, US $117.06. We aren't thrilled paying this much to dine out once a week.
We thought there's be entertainment at this small stage but none started while we were there.  A handcrafted sailboat replica occupies the space between stage performances.
We brought home the remainder of the bottle with more than half remaining.  According to this site, a typical bottle of wine contains five glasses at 150 ml, 5 ounces each.  For my first wine since the cardiac bypass surgery, I wanted to make sure I controlled the size of my servings which in some locations, they pour too much, more than I'd want.

Today, cool and cloudy, we'll stay put, make a nice Sunday dinner and settle back doing a "bunch of nothing" which, from time to time, is quite enjoyable.

May you do the same today.
  _________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, May 26, 2018:

The view from the restaurant, aptly named, Aamazing River View located in Marloth Park.  For more photos, please click here.

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